A Tribute to Barbara Harper

While she’s never technically been an employee here at the Butler Family of Dealerships, she is a spectacularly BarbaraFBwonderful woman that has influenced our dealership immensely.
Her husband worked at Butler for years in the 80’s, her son, Les, has worked in administration for over 20 years and we are honored to have five Living Opportunity employees because of her! Who is this fabulous lady? Her name is Barbara Harper and she’s just “wonderful!”
So why are we awe struck? Barbara’s story begins as the mother of four sons, one – Charlie – who was born with Down ’s syndrome in 1949.
At that time, Dr. Downs had not discovered “Down’s Syndrome” and the doctors told Barbara and Bill that their son Charlie was a “Mongolian Idiot” and that he wouldn’t live past one year old. If he did, he would be a “crib vegetable” and they instructed her to leave him in an institution and forget him. Barbara vehemently cried NO! She would raise him until she was no longer able. Charlie moved out to a group home when he was 28 and lived a wonderful, full life until he died from complications of Alzheimer’s at the age of 63.
Barbara and her husband Bill became founding board members of Living Opportunities, Inc. in Medford. Living Opportunities was established in 1974 to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they learn to live, work, and play in the community.
LivingoppBarbara refused to give up the dream that Charlie could live a “normal life” just as her other three sons did. “We’re all different but we all think we’re normal. So what is normal? I haven’t figured that out yet,” she laughed.
Living Opportunities gave Charlie that chance, as well as so many other children who otherwise would be left on the fringes of society. Thanks to Barbara, Bill, and the other founding board members, children and adults with disabilities will have the quality of life they deserve.
To read more about Barbara’s story and the strides made in the last 50 years with intellectual and developmentally challenged people go to: 

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